The molecular test for Chlamydophila psittaci is used for the rapid and highly accurate laboratory diagnosis of infections by these microorganisms.
Members of the family Chlamydiaceae are small, non-motile, Gram-negative, obligately intracellular organisms that grow in the cytoplasm of host cells. Two genera of chlamydia are of clinical importance to humans, the genus Chlamydia which includes the species Chlamydia trachomatis, and the genus Chlamydophila which includes the species Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Chlamydophila psittaci. These organisms share many characteristics with microbes and are sensitive to antibiotic treatment while also resembling viruses, requiring living cells to reproduce.
The chlamydia life cycle can be divided into two distinct phases: an extracellular phase, during which they do not multiply and are infectious, and an obligate intracellular phase, during which they multiply and are non-infectious. The infectious forms, or elementary bodies, attaches to the cell membrane and enter the cell via a phagosome. After entering the cells, the elementary body is reorganized into reticulate bodies (forming inclusions) and their proliferation begins. After 18 to 24 hours, the reticulate bodies condense to form elementary bodies. These new elementary bodies are released, starting a new cycle of infection.
Chlamydophila psittaci (formerly called Chlamydia psittaci) is the causative agent of psittacosis, a disease characterized by pneumonia (atypical), headache, and hepatosplenomegaly. Psittacosis is transmitted by infected birds through their secretions, mainly faeces. Laboratory blood tests in patients usually show leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated liver enzymes.